05 February 2009

The Existence of God (NEXT! #2)

by Dan Phillips

Challenge: I don't see God.

Response: [hold hands over eyes] I don't see you.
(Proverbs 21:22)

Dan Phillips's signature

29 comments:

DJP said...

On this and all that follow, click on the NEXT! to see the series introduction and explanation.

No, all my posts from now on will not be twelve (or whatever) words long. So don't despair (or rejoice, depending on your perspective). It's just that my mind has been absorbed in something I just finally finished, and now I need a brief breather.

So... discuss. The intent, as with all this series, is multifaceted.

Rick Frueh said...

Why do you doubt your senses?

Because, a little thing affects them. A slight disorder of the stomach makes them cheats. You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato. There's more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!

*****

In the end, we use our senses whether we be a believer of an athiest. Hold your hands over your eyes and you use your ears. Helen Keller uses her sense of touch as her only communicated sense. The mind pieces together frgaments of senses and compiles a logical thought. Until Apollo 8 we assumed there was a dark side of the moon (Pink Floyd helped).

At some point it becomes profoundly absurd not to believe based on a plethera of evidence even in the absence of sight.

CR said...

I don't see atoms or molecules and for milleniums we didn't have the instruments to see subatomic particles. The subatomic world is just as real.

The invisible realm (or immaterial world) is just as real, in fact, it is more real than the visible or material world.

Everyday Mommy said...

Challenge: I don't see God.

Response: You're not looking.

DJP said...

All the comments are fine - I know what I should do with every one of these posts. Here it is:

Explain to me why this is deeper than it seems.

Frank Turk said...

I was gonna go there, but I was afraid I was derailing your succinct post.

I think the real philosophoical genius of this response is that it's incisively funny -- it reveals what kind of fool would say such a thing.

Rick Frueh said...

I am not sure exactly what you mean, but here is why your eyes cannot be the arbitor of truth.

God is a spirit for one thing. Also, many "tribes" have made the objects of their eyes their gods. (Sun, Moon, rocks, etc.) How would a blind man find God without sight?

And, in fact, using the visible as the revelation of God is a extastentialism/pantheism construct. And lastly, how would we know we are looking at God without a picture or description beforehand? That is why people can say "The Moon is God watching over us?. And if we had a picture would that not constitute "seeing God"?

We DO have a "picture", but instead of paint or silver nitrate it is framed in printed words, which by the way, CAN be seen. He who has eyes to see let him read and SEE the Word.

SolaMommy said...

I think Everyday Mommy nailed it.

corinthian said...

http://hotair.com/archives/2009/02/04/heart-ache-religion-is-hardwired-in-the-brain-scientists-theorize/comment-page-1/#comments

wanna have some fun? See what questions the "world" is asking

Carol Jean said...

The comment/accusation is at root, childish.

Stick your fingers in your ears, cover your eyes and say, "Nah, nah, nah, I can't see you, so you're invisible." Children who participate in this "magical thinking" also believe they can't be seen. Implicit in this mindset is the belief that one is not accountable to a God they can neither see or be seen by.

The irony is that we are told to come to God with childlike faith. Faith - not foot-stomping, tantrum-throwing rebellion.

As a side note, I saw a church sign this week that said, "Facts-Faith-Feelings: Don't reverse the order" Still puzzling over the order of the first two in light of the sovereignty of God.

Stefan said...

"I don't see God."

"I don't see you."

"But you're covering your eyes!"

"Exactly."

"But that's just silly!"

"Exactly."

Frank Turk said...

Exactly.

Rick Frueh said...

Curly - "Moe, I can't see, I can't see!

Moe - What's the matter??

Curly - "I got my eyes closed!"

Moe conks Curly on the head.

donsands said...

Open the eyes of your heart and behold.


"The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat" Psalm 19:1-6

Solameanie said...

Now, Frank..come on. How could you derail a meta?

Solameanie said...

Oops, I should have also said, "good post, Dan!" This will help the average atheist as they tick away the moments that make up a dull day. (Thanks, Rick)

Bill said...

Well, not to sound philosophical or anything, but how does one who doesn't believe in God know that he/she isn't already seeing Him and just doesn't want to accept who He is?

In order to know if you are seeing something (or Someone in this case) you must have already accepted the fact that said something (or Someone) does actually exist, this requires faith.

"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Mesa Mike said...

There is none so blind as he who will not see.

Which is all of us (Rom 3:11).

...except the individuals whom God graciously and irresistibly elects to desire vision and opens their eyes so that they can see.

But it's no fault of Him should He not do that for you. You're still the one with the fingers in the ears going, "LA LA LA LA LA! I CAN'T HEAR YOU!"

Frank Turk said...

Bill --

I'd be careful in interpreying Hebrews that way for one specific reason: that passage is about hope in God's promises and not accepting that God exists.

It goes like this, as I am sure you are aware:

But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For,

Yet a little while,
and the coming one will come and will not delay;
but my righteous one shall live by faith,
and if he shrinks back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.


But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.


And then on to describe the great cloud of witnesses.

It seems to me that in this context, faith is what God gives us before He fulfills the promises. And then faith is fulfilled when the promises are completed.

You might leverage that into our affirmation of a God whom we cannot see face to face right now, but I think that passage is about trusting God's promises in times of trial and not the foundation that God exists.

I mean: even the demons fear God, right?

Johnny Dialectic said...

"For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. "

Mike the Bible Burgh Host said...

Hey Dan, is that Al Mohler kneeling on the Pyro logo??

:-)

Chris said...

God Does Not Believe in Atheists; Therefore, Atheists Do Not Exist!

founderandperfecter said...

Challenge: I don't see God.

Response: [hold hands over eyes] I don't see you

Challenge: but you responded to me proving you believe in me

Response: You're right. I guess I do believe in you...

Awkward pause

NothingNewUnderTheSun said...

I don't think that believing in the existence of God is enough for salvation as many might think. Believing that God exists is only just a step above in believing the earth exists since as Christians we are required to 'worship' God as Lord. Obviously a person has to accept the existence of God before one could worship him. Even though far more people believe there's a God than those who don't, unfortunately you can't tell the difference in their daily lives.

If God is not exalted to the highest, than believing only in his existence has little influence on one's life.

Bill said...

Frank,

You’re right about the context of the verse and that I was leveraging that into our debate here. I believe it is applicable. Thank you for pointing that out.

What I was trying to point out was that someone who is attempting to see that God exists while already having a presupposition that He does not exist is really any a conundrum. It takes faith to know God. We learn from Scripture that the very faith required to know Him is also a gift from God (since we are spiritually dead and unable to come to God). How can a person receive a gift from Someone whom they are convinced does not exist. Obviously, this re-enforces the sovereignty of God in salvation and we understand that but the unbeliever won’t understand that – unless God reveals Himself to him.

Given the abundance of evidence available in creation that proves the existence of a Creator, the reason so many people refuse to believe in Him is an issue of faith (and, of course, pride) – not lack of evidence.

I hope I haven’t clouded up the issue even more. I’m just trying to relate how I understand it.

Thanks again for your comments.
Bill Lonas

Benjamin Nitu said...

Isaiah 59 is the spot on:
Behold,the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God,
and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.
...
Therefore justice is far from us, and righteousness does not overtake us;we hope for light, and behold, darkness, and for rightness, but we walk in gloom.
We grope for the wall like the blind; we grope like those who have no eyes; we stumble at noon as in the twilight, among those in full vigor we are like dead men.

Ephesians 2 continues
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

tck said...

Looking forward to Next III.

JamesW said...

I had a book on theology or apologetics in my hand one day and ran into a fella from the building next to mine. We were fairly well acquainted with each other I guess. He sees the book and said, "So you believe in God? But, you seemed so intelligent."
I just smiled and nodded because I couldn't answer back the same...

Officer said...

I love this, and these; thanks =)